This recipe is great for any level home cook. It is simplistic in nature, yet is ALWAYS a hit. This is one of those recipes that you want to keep in your back pocket for parties and special occasions: just double the recipe and transport your ricotta stuffed shells in a large square tupperware container. You can also freeze your stuffed shells and serve them at a later date!
HOW TO FREEZE YOUR STUFFED SHELLS:
Fill all the shells with your ricotta mixture and place on a sheet pan. Cover your shells with a layer of plastic wrap, then a layer of aluminum foil. Freeze for 2 hours. Once frozen, transfer your shells to a large ziploc freezer bag. Squeeze out all of the air, and return back to the freezer. You can freeze these stuffed shells for up to 3 months.
When you are ready to eat them: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Add 1/2 cup marinara to a baking dish. Place the frozen shells on top, open side up, and add an additional 2 cups of marinara. Bake at 400 degrees for 30-35 minutes. Grate mozzarella over the top and bake an additional 5 minutes.
Ricotta Stuffed Shells Recipe
- 1/2 12 ounce box of jumbo shells
- 1 24 ounce jar of marinara sauce
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 15 ounces ricotta (about 1/2 of a 32 ounce container)
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella Plus extra to sprinkle on top
- 3/4 cup powdered Parmesan (or shredded, if you have it!)
- 1 tbsp pureed Italian herbs (the squeeze bottle, see notes at end of recipe)
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Parsley for garnish
Instructions For Ricotta Baked Stuffed Shells
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and bring salted water in a large stock pot to a boil.
- Add the shells to the water and cook until al dente, about 7 minutes.
- While the shells are cooking, combine ricotta, 1 cup mozzarella, 1/2 a cup of Parmesan and pureed Italian herbs in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Stir to combine.
- When pasta is done, drain the shells and toss with a small coating of olive oil to prevent sticking.
- Spray 13" x 9" glass baking dish or any sized dutch oven (see notes) with non-stick cooking spray. Spread 1 cup marinara sauce in baking dish.
- Fill each shell with equal amounts of ricotta mixture. The shells should be stuffed enough that a little bit of the mixture is spilling out. You can use a piping method (see notes) or spoon the mixture in. When you finish one shell, place it in the baking dish with the open side facing up. Shells should be positioned close together.
- Top shells with remaining marinara sauce and sprinkle with left over mozzarella and parmesan.
- Cover baking dish with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and continue cooking until cheese is melted, about 5 minutes.
- The Italian herb stir-in puree that I use is ‘That’s Tasty’ Organic puree. Once opened, it lasts refrigerated for 6 months, so it has become an absolute must have in my fridge. I use it all the time when I don’t have fresh herbs, and it tastes amazing. It includes oregano, basil, thyme, rosemary, marjoram and other ingredients to make a fresh flavored, no mess puree.
- The ‘baking dish’ that I like to use in family style recipes like this is myLe Creuset Oval Casserole Dish. I find that aesthetically, I like to serve family style dishes in colorful cookware. I believe it adds a more ‘homey’ feel to the dish. I cooked the rest of my shells that did not fit in another casserole dish of a different color, so there is some variety on the dining room table!
- I tried the piping method by spooning the mixture into a zip lock bag and cutting the end of the bag with scissors…I found that this method technically worked, but I kept getting holes in my bag and filling was getting everywhere. I found that the simple method of spooning the mixture into the shell was actually a lot easier, and this is what I would recommend.
Did you like my ‘Ricotta Stuffed Shells’ recipe?
If so, go check out my ‘One Pot Chicken and Rice‘ recipe!
The ‘baking dish’ that I like to use in family style recipes like this is my Le Creuset Oval Casserole Dish. I find that aesthetically, I like to serve family style dishes in colorful cookware. I believe it adds a more ‘homey’ feel to the dish. This classic casserole dish evenly distributes heat and has a smooth enamel that resists chipping and cleans easily. Definitely a kitchen essential! And there are over 7 colors to choose from! Mine is orange, but check out this Marine Blue!